Under the gun of a December 31 countdown clock, reeking of gin and the far less pleasant but equally distinct musk of bold goals barely attempted, one can always begin again by making a New Year's resolution.
But look back on that noble stab at self-improvement by the time the pansies start to bloom, and you'll see that winter's steely resolve has snapped like the kind of poorly made cable favored by a shady contractor whose careless work has turned your bridge to the future into a road to nowhere.
Then you realize that the cable is you, and ditto for the contractor.
Almost immediately following that, you realize it's raining and you've woken up on a rooftop in a part of town you don't immediately recognize, and you're out of gin and you're not wearing pants. And despite the hazy sense of having just met your presumptive nominee for "life partner," he's gone now and, apparently, so too is your wallet. And you are, as you've always been, so very, very alone.
So in the waning moments of a chilly NYC Sunday morning in early May, you pick yourself up, spot your pants in the distance, and find in them the trusty Pilot Razor Point pen that was supposed to have prompted you to crank out the Great American Novel by the first quarter of 2016. And you take that pen, and you make a list of Spring Resolutions on the back of what will soon claim its rightful place as the World's Greatest Repurposed Pizza Box -- if they gave out awards for such a thing, and if that thing existed anywhere besides the Wishful Thinking Department of your sad, throbbing head. And just as surely as you write, so shall these things be done...and well before summer, to boot!
--I will stop starting blogs with tall tales of debauchery that merely serve as a set-up for gimmicky lists.
--I will admit that the most dangerous thing I did last Saturday night was flip between a British mystery on PBS, boxing on Showtime, and the weather forecast on channels 1, 2, 4 and 7, thereby missing vital information from all six channels.
--I will be a better person, or at least adopt a better persona.
--I will stop cruising that West Side sauna.
--I will keep cruising saunas, but will switch to the East Side.
--With all due respect to the Dollar Store, I will invest in brand name moisturizer, to give healing and hope to all that dry skin from all that quality sauna time.
--And the new me doesn't stop there, not by a long shot. I will take a deep dive into my most firmly entrenched personal hygiene habits!
--I will finally heed the siren call of that jumbo size Milk & Honey hand soap that has long teased me from its lofty perch on the shelf, and use it to refill the very last one-shot version that I will ever buy. In doing so, each pump of its firm plastic handle will yield a silky, sweet-smelling, palm-sized testament to the slightly smaller carbon footprint I leave on this fragile, ever-spinning planet.
--I will hydrate more and hyperventilate less.
--I will stop being offended when the only ads that pop up on my Facebook home page are for PrEP prescriptions, sexual behavioral studies, and that social marketing campaign where the guy is wearing a shirt that says he has syphilis.
--I will shine.
--I will run my race.
--I will toe my line.
--I will sing Sade songs. Is that a crime?
--I will become known as the man without fear or hesitation. Look, there he is, that emotionally available social butterfly who lives life to the fullest, taking each and every chance at love to come his way, even if it means spending slightly less time mentally constructing an elaborate alternate universe where he's in a hot, monogamous relationship with the Rufskin guy from that phone booth ad on Seventh Ave. and 20th Street.
--I will enthusiastically participate in the precise amount of counseling necessary to stop calling in sick from work so I can continue to read about Aaron Burr, all the while imagining his exploits as portrayed by the super-dreamy guy who plays him in Hamilton.
--Yeah, that's right. I saw it in April. Before the 16 TONY nominations. Good seats, too. So yes, yes, you're deservedly smug about the fact that you have a boyfriend or a husband or a spring jacket that goes with simply everything, but still, I ask you...jealous much? Well, you should be! Hamilton is a Broadway game changer, every bit as much as Show Boat or Oklahoma! or A Chorus Line were in their days, and it's sold out through, like, January, I heard. You just think about that. Let it marinate. I mentioned the seats were good, right?
--I will be humble.
--I will be heartfelt.
--I will be happy for those who have what I want, especially if it's something I don't feel particularly inclined to work for -- which, mind you, is pretty much everything that doesn't involve a few kind words and the surrender of my Happy Hour drink ticket.
--I will stop making gimmicky lists!